NEW YORK–A significantly more pessimistic view of the economy by consumers sent the consumer confidence index down 14.7 points to 44.5, its lowest level in two years, according to The Conference Board, which compiles the monthly indicator.
Consumers’ attitudes toward the economy deteriorated sharply from both the current and a future outlook. The present situation index, one of the two component indexes, decreased 2.4 points to 33.3, and the expectations index fell 23 points to 51.9.
In addition, a larger percentage of the consumers surveyed for the monthly indicator said that both current business conditions are “bad” and that jobs are “hard to get.” Those expecting both business conditions and the jobs situation to worsen in the short term also saw percentage declines.
Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board’s Consumer Research Center, said, “A contributing factor (to consumers’ noticeably declining confidence) may have been the debt-ceiling discussions, since the decline in confidence was well under way before the S&P downgrade (of U.S. debt).”